Poetry. Film. California Interest. There is an iconic scene in Woody Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo when a character in the titular film steps off the screen to interact with a fan in the theatre, whose devotion to the movies literally animates that character to life. A similar magic takes place within the pages of Kryssa Schemmerling's debut poetry collection, IRIS IN. As a child growing up in California, the boundaries between film and real life were truly blurred, personal history and Hollywood history bound inextricably together. Small wonder that the movies came a central part of her life. The experience of watching her father watch Truffaut's Jules & Jim provides a glimpse into darker mysteries of family and future. "Before Hollywood" even, from the earliest moments of film "the world leaks in/like stray light" just as it does in life, when we least expect it. DeMille orders the set of his 1923 Ten Commandments destroyed and buried in the desert, art imitating life but also a quintessentially American act of erasing the past to make way for the future. The movies are a way of understanding ourselves and how we came to be. These poems are another way to that same end. Schemmerling retains her childhood sense of wonder but joins it with an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. The result is verse that catches the reader up in its own world, as mesmerizing as the images flickering on the screen in a darkened theatre. You can almost smell the popcorn.
Kryssa Schemmerling's poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, Mudlark, Big City Lit, and other publications. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University and an MFA in film from Columbia University. In addition to writing poetry, she is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who has taught screenwriting at New York University and Montclair State University in New Jersey. Born and raised in California, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. IRIS IN is her first book.Author City: BROOKLYN, NY USA